November 21, 2020 23:59:23 pm
Dominic Thiem came back from the brink of defeat to beat Novak Djokovic in a gripping clash in the last four ATP Finals on Saturday as he reached the final for the second year in a row.
The 27-year-old Austrian appeared to slide to win when he trailed 0-4 in the third-set tiebreak, but came back strong to claim a 7-5 6-7 (10) 7-6 (5) win. in just under three hours.
World number three Thiem was the best player in the opening set, sealing him with an ace after breaking the serve at 5-5.
An exciting second-set tie-breaker gave Thiem four chances for the win, but he double-faulted on match point and Djokovic showed courage to snatch the set.
Serves dominated the decider and when Thiem started the second tiebreaker of the day and then lost the next three points, it looked like the end was near.
Instead, the world number three roared, winning the next six points.
Djokovic saved a fifth match point, but Thiem finally got the job done when a groundstroke from Djokovic drifted long.
Thiem will now attempt to complete a remarkable year, in which he won his first Grand Slam title by winning the US Open, against Rafa Nadal or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s climax.
“It was a mental battle, I got so tight in the second set tiebreak,” said Thiem, who avenged his loss to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final, on court. .
“Playing these legends is always special and playing here is also something special. I thought after winning the title in New York I would be calmer, but that was a mistake I guess.
Thiem will try to do better than last year when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
The defeat means Djokovic will have to wait until the event moves to Turin next year, after 12 years in London, to try again to match Roger Federer’s six titles at the end of the year.
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